I know what you’re thinking… Q4 is months away.
Why are we talking about this now?
Planning now for your biggest quarter of the year takes time and strategy.
Your ability to market and sell, manage the unpredictable supply chains, prepare your team are all relying on the decisions you make today.
Starting your Q4 sales strategy early enables you to do a lot, including making informed decisions and allocate your resources effectively.
Simply put, Q4 is important because we spend more. And you want a piece of that pie. Planning early helps you set the foundation for a successful and profitable end-of-year. And isn’t that what you want? The fourth quarter encompasses the entire holiday season, including major shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas holiday period. According to cnbc.com, the projected average holiday spend is $1,500 per person, and depending on where you live, it can be three times as much. Consumers tend to increase their spending during this time, leading to a surge in sales for retail, e-commerce, and various consumer goods sectors. This surge means many businesses rely on Q4 sales to generate a significant portion of their annual revenue. In order for Q4 to be a success, early planning is necessary and vital to meet your sales goals. Keep reading to learn 8 ways you can secure your game plan for a successful Q4.
1: Gift Guides
Gift guides are a great way to get in front of your right audience. In order to maximize this approach you need to be taking action now. Start by researching and applying to Fall, Winter, and Holiday Gift Guides. You may be too late for some, but there are so many available. If you missed the deadline, don’t fret, write them down so you can plan ahead for next year. Know these gift guides do not have to be at a national level. It might be best to start small – think local bloggers, local mom’s groups, community guides, or even your local Chamber of Commerce.
2: Budget for Future Discounts
Putting products and services for “sale” can sound like a good idea, but preparing now is key to ensuring your budget is set up to withstand your discounted offer. Offering a sale price is fine, if you look at your numbers to make sure you’re not actually losing money. Look at your whole year and decide if it makes sense to raise some prices now to compensate for the sales coming up. Look at your profit margins and see what products you will put on sale to get an idea of how many you need to sell in order for your offer to be profitable. All these factors come into play to help you maximize your growth and revenue so you don’t lose money.
3: Photo Assets
If you need new photos, now’s the time to schedule them. Do not wait until the Fall to schedule new headshots or product shots for your holiday campaigns and website updates. Plan ahead so you can get the professional look and feel you’re envisioning. Taking these brand images now will allow for more time to put your marketing plan in place and to update your website and social media. I recommend updating your headshots as posts with an image of the founder get huge engagement. Plus, photographers often offer discounts during the summer months to pre-plan their fall/winter. When working with a company for a gift guide you may be asked for “assets” for fall/winter starting in July/August.
Get ahead of your “new product launches” and any “holiday bundles” you are offering with professional photos. This is how you compete in your space.
4: Trunk Shows/ Pop ups.
Trunk shows and pop-ups are popular during the holiday season. This means that many buyers are looking for this kind of shopping experience. Don’t delay and research the best trunk shows and pop-ups that would be best for your audience. Get organized and start filling out your Q3/Q4 calendars with opportunities. This will allow you to get your setup organized and ready to make the best of the show.
5: Website Audits and Updates.
Once your customers start to hear about your offer they most likely will go to your website to learn more about you and decide to make a purchase, or not. Is your website ready? Be sure to conduct a full website audit. Review all copy, sales page and photos. If you’re selling products, be sure your website is updated with the most recent products and have a shadow site ready to go as the seasons change. From a tech standpoint, is your SEO up to date? Did you change your Google Analytics to the new format? (If you do this now you can get this season’s analytics and build your historical data.) And finally, is your call-to-action front and center? When someone lands on your website do they know what to do next? If not, map your ideal customer journey and layout your website to bring them on it.
6: Marketing/Email Campaigns.
Email marketing is critical to the success of any business. For every $1 that is spent on email marketing an average of $42 is received back in sales. That’s a 4,200% ROI! This is a very important part of your holiday marketing strategy and will set you up for big sales success in Q4. I recommend vetting out the rest of your year with your email campaigns for the following: new product drops, new offers with the holidays, setting your workflows and automation, create a social strategy that is aligned with your business marketing plan, getting your team aligned with the plan and setting your marketing goals for Q3 and Q4.
7: Inventory Assessment.
Do you have enough inventory to reach your goals for Q3/Q4? Have you planned for purchasing more inventory so you can receive the best pricing and best shipping options? Have you given thought to any time in delays to ensure you have the product for your sale? This is also the time to shop around for the best pricing on the packaging and perhaps even to change your packaging to be friendlier to the environment. It’s also an opportunity to check your current inventory. Is there anything you can repurpose? Are there other outlets that would consider “repurposing” some of your previous inventory? Taking an inventory allows you to get creative and repurpose old products and ensures your new products arrive on time to ship to happy customers.
8: Increase Your Visibility Starting Now
Most people don’t love to be in front of the camera and posting content on social media. But, most people do love when sales come through. Is it time to grab more visibility for your business? In order to get the “edge” on your product, leaning on a PR or marketing team can give you more visibility faster. You’ll be able to get ahead of the competition and be top of mind to your customers. It’s an investment in your company that can lead to new business opportunities, increased assets and much-needed credibility.
I hope this blog has helped you understand why now’s the time to start getting your business ready for Q4.
Take each of these eight tasks and break them up to smaller achievable goals this summer.
You’ll thank yourself later.
Want 1:1 attention?
You can dive deeper with me during a 1:1 by booking a 75 minute holiday planning session. During our session together we’ll walk you through what and how to prioritize your action steps to develop your holiday sales success road map for a profitable Q4.